Three Fresno men are accused of a scam in which nearly 300 counterfeit U.S. Treasury checks worth more than $500,000 were cashed.
An eight-count federal indictment charged Jeffrey Michalk, 43; Steve Gomez, 40; and Michael Dugan, 48, of conspiracy, theft of public money, and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said in a news release Thursday morning.
According to court documents, from June 2020 through at least January 2022, the defendants teamed up to cash counterfeit U.S. Treasury checks throughout the Central Valley.
The indictments stem from an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandre Dempsey is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge, a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the theft of money charge, and a mandatory minimum consecutive two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charges.
How to Detect Fake Treasury Checks
The distinguishing security features of a genuine U.S. Treasury check can be seen at this link.
You can verify the issuance of a U.S. Treasury Check at this link.